Conference brings collective farmer bargaining to the forefront

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Can farmers bargain for better prices? The first Conference on CLOUT (Cooperation and Linking Offer Unbeatable Transactions) is March 16-17 on the campus of Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

The conference gets under way at 1 p.m. March 16 and concludes at 2 p.m. March 17. Featured will be farmers and leaders from bargaining co-ops and associations that represent nearly every commodity grown in the United States, among them the California Canning Peach Association, the oldest bargaining co-op in the country.

Kaptur to speak.

The event will also feature two keynote speakers with strong interests in farmer bargaining.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Friday evening’s keynote speaker, has sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives to toughen the Agricultural Fair Practices Act, which protects farmers who join bargaining groups from processor retribution.

Saturday’s noon speaker, Michael Cook, is an agricultural economist who heads the University of Missouri’s cooperative leadership program, and was formerly CEO of the Rice Growers Association of California.

Registration.

The conference is jointly sponsored by Successful Farming magazine, the National Farmers Organization, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, USDA Rural Development, Iowa State University and the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives.

Cost of the conference is $60, which includes meals on Friday evening and Saturday noon. For details call Dan Looker at 515-284-3872. To register call Janet Gardner at 515-294-5366 or e-mail jgard@iastate.edu.

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